Playground fights are personal, and this one sure lived up to the billing. It was a four quarter Battle Royale. It was action-packed from the opening kick to the final whistle, and like any standard WWF event, it had plenty of twists, turns and turnovers. While not a gorgeous effort by either team, it had enough action to keep even the casual fan on the seat edge all night long.
There was internal debate about taking in this contest in person or via the comforts of home. The former was eventually chosen, and the decision didn't disappointment. While not quite a playoff fever or pitch, Texas Stadium was electric for its last Monday night game in its historic confines. Yes, the Cowboys ushered out the Monday night magic in rare form. The Mother Ship was not quite Kyle Field, but it sure had the feel of the College Station venue. Never before have the Cowboys faithful stood for most the entire contest. It was one of those games where the volleys were numerous and the lead changes made for great theatre. One was left with the impression of "last possession wins."
In the Cowboys case, that held true, but it wouldn't have been the case had the Dallas defense continued to play hide with no seek. This wasn't the unit's best performance by any stretch, but they "showed" when it counted most. Brian Stewart's worker bees put their noses to the grindstone for two back-to-back series to solidify the win. Donovan McNabb was three quarters spectacular, but his historic flaws surfaced late in the 4th quarter, and to be completely fair to the warrior, he may have been running out of fuel. When DeMarcus Ware corralled #5 for a sack near the Cowboys' bench, it solidified the home team determination. The following play was more perplexing than effective, but first round pick Mike Jenkins "stayed" when he needed to stay, and a gentle shove across the chalk gave the Cowboys a much-needed victory.
No, the contest was not "must win."
Many misinterpreted the Monday morning message that teed up the evening contest. The belief is still very strong and prominent, and had the Cowboys lost the home game against the Eagles, it would have created a most difficult road to navigate the remainder of the 2008 slate. Fortunately for Wade Phillips and his team, they don't have to travel that road. This win helped exorcise demons and build confidence. Nothing more needs to be said. The challenge was presented, and the Cowboys didn't shy away from it.
Sure, they wanted to hand it, more than a couple of times, to the visitors, but they persevered, and that's what counts most. Don't spend too much time analyzing game stats as it will only call attention to disparity. With noses bloodied and forearms fractured, the home team answered the final bell and stood tall enough to bring home the second week decision. There was no "knock out," and that will probably remain the case for the entire 2008 campaign. Ladies and gentlemen, this division, the NFC East, is rock solid. Well, maybe Jim Zorn's boys are feeling growing pains, but the other three are going to be around for the long haul. The good news in this? It will require Wade Phillips' troops to remain sharp and growing all year long. Everyone hopes the precision and refinement carries right into December. The history is both long and forgettable, but the fact remains they have business to tend to and more demons to exorcise. They must advance in January.
To help digest the remainder of the season, Cowboys' fans need to come to grips with one "glaring" aspect right now. For those who were around to witness the Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman regimes, you're going to have to brace yourselves as it relates to the new field general. Sure, Captain Comeback and Aikman both made their share of mistakes, but they never seemed to fall asleep at the wheel. Uncle Tony is like that friend back in the high school days that happened to find the "shoulder stones" more than once while driving a packed vehicle of knucklehead buddies. The mere sound of the tires leaving the pavement was enough to jerk everyone to attention. Folks, Tony Romo lets the vehicle drift to the right, and it creates that same "shock to reality" feeling. He just has momentary lapses of reason, and fortunately for the fan base, he handles it much better than the viewers.
Think about it. You race for beer, Rolaids and defibrillators, and all Romo seeks is the baseball cap to firmly affix, backwards, to his dome while contemplating the next series. He's the equivalent of the NFL defensive cornerback. His memory is short, and his determination is strong. In his world, there is always next time. That is, unless he's holding a last second snap for a field goal or trying to fit the ball into Patrick Crayton for an overachiever victory. He cares, but he really doesn't. That darn Wisconsin, "awe shucks" disposition is as real as a heart attack. The same symptoms he's going to give everyone who follows this team. If it hasn't happened already, then brace yourselves, because it will. Oh, it will. The kid's guts and determination are "bust-like." Yup, I said it; know you figure it out. Canton or Dukes of Hazard-like? He has "it." That same "it" we all wish we had. Why can't I let the shoulder burdens of everyday life roll off like he does? Frustrating and admirable all in the same breath.
You just have to find a way to tolerate and deal with this. It's going to happen. Over and over and over again. He's more Brett Favre than even Brett Favre was Brett Favre. Does that make sense? Of course it doesn't; that's what's so perplexing. No, this is not a statement to proclaim all Monday night's ugliness belonged to the Cowboys' quarterback. Not even close. Everyone had their fair share of boneheaded contributions, but when #9 contributes his share, it's always in grandiose fashion. Last year, did he not track down a miss-snap some thirty yards behind the line of scrimmage only to pull out a four yard gain and first down? See! Mable, pass the Rolaids!
If anyone from the famed Six Flags theme park is reading, and new thrill ride names are being sought, anything with Romo in the title is not a bad choice. Yes, I could fill up the remaining space with suggestions, but y'all can do better than me. Start with Romo and insert anything from there. No matter what you produce, it will fit. You know what is implied. He makes you scratch your head and then leaves you smiling with glee. No wonder that Daisy Dukes dynamo finds such great favor in her pink #9 wears. He keeps things interesting, and ladies, isn't that what you want most in your man/men? Uncle Roy doesn't want me going there, so we'll package this up with a neat little football bow.
Yes, Troy also wore the chin dressings, but Troy never really had me looking for oxygen or paramedic assistance. An emergency personnel for his own sake, but nothing was needed on the fan end of things. If you haven't got the guts to ride out the Romo roller-coaster, you best get out of line right now. You can only hope it stays on the tracks, but you're going to get off thinking you just broke the sound barrier for the hundredth time. He truly is Chuck Yeager in a Cowboys' uniform. "Hey Witten, got any of that Beamon's?"
"I promise I'll pay you back." Yeah, right along with resuscitation efforts.
Cowboys' fans, you've been warned. Ride at your own risk!
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